The Tokyo Reporter

‘Die Japan’ named a top-10 buzzword for 2016

Part of the title of a blog post blasting Japan’s ever-growing waiting lists for day care won an award for being one of the top-10 buzzwords of 2016 (Shiori Yamao’s blog)

TOKYO (TR) – A phrase from the title of an anonymous blog post by a mother titled “Couldn’t get into day care, die Japan!!!” was named one of the prize winners for the top-10 buzzwords of the year on Thursday for catapulting the country’s issue of ever-growing waiting lists for day care into the national, if not global, spotlight.

Shiori Yamao, 42, a member of the House of Representatives for the Democratic Party who confronted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the post during a House of Representatives session on February 19, accepted the award for “Nihon shine,” or die Japan, at the 2016 U-can New/Trending Terms Grand Prize ceremony at the Imperial Hotel in Chiyoda Ward, Sports Hochi reports (Dec. 1).

The prize is supported by U-Can Inc., a company that offers adult training and education programs, and Jiyuu Kokumin Sha, a publishing company. A selection committee chooses the top 10 winners for the prize after taking the results of surveys into consideration.

“I’m not sure if I should be the one receiving the prize,” Yamao said, “but I do wish to accept this prize for the words of the one anonymous mother who spoke up and the 27,862 people who provided their signatures and helped make this happen.”

The renewed attention on the blog post comes amid growing alarm over the nation’s low birth rate coupled with an aging population, which experts say could eventually cause labor shortages and cripple the world’s third largest economy.

Blunt, vulgar

The blog post in question, posted anonymously by an author claiming to be a mother on Feb. 15, was widely circulated and credited with launching the issue of fiercely competitive waiting lists for day cares into the national spotlight using blunt and what some deemed vulgar language.

Abe was forced to address the anonymous mother’s woes, and in turn those of parents across Japan, by promising to work on rolling out measures and slash waiting lists in March.

Abe was criticized for initially trying to brush off the post for being anonymously written, Nikkan Sports reported.

‘Ask the prime minister’

Yamao explained that she decided to raise the question in the Diet session after a 19-year-old university student requested her to “ask the prime minister” about the scathing post.

“A week after I asked, I went to the government to hand in signatures by 27,682 people and the mother,” Yamao said. “It was something of a miracle that happened in one week.”

“I never thought things would turn out this way, but those words ended up significantly symbolizing the start and beginning of the year,” Yamao said.

“My role was to ask questions, but I’m hoping for more action in the form of capable people doing what they can,” said Yamao, who is also a working mother with a son.

“Next comes the time to solve this,” Yamao said. “It might be a new or trending term for now, but I hope to strive to quickly make it a ‘dead term.’”

‘Cut the crap, Japan’

In the post, the author wrote that “no one’s going to be having kids when they’re like hey, sure, it’s great you gave birth, but it’s impossible to leave your kids at day care the way you want to lol!”

“How much tens of billions of yen is being wasted on the Olympics, damn it,” the post continued. “Just build day cares, who cares about the emblem. Build day cares if there’s money to pay some famous designer.”

“Now I have to quit my goddamn job, the hell am I supposed to do,” the author wrote. “Cut the crap, Japan. If more day cares can’t be built, then make child benefits 200,000 yen.”

“Idiots, it’s asking way too much to be all, we can’t build more day cares and we can only pay out a few thousand yen for child benefits but we gotta do something about the declining population,” the author wrote.

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